The Longest Day [1962)

Two lines from Verlaine.

Fake them out so many times that they become crazy.

Now do you understand QAnon?

Be on the precipice of all out attack.

Call it off.

Ike did.

82nd.

101st.

Resist.

Vive la France!

Who will save us?

We are the resistance.

We are digital soldiers.

Rubber dummies.

Gliders.

Loveless.

My bloody Valentine.

You must defy all logic to win.

Logical thinking.

Our enemy is evil.

But they aren’t stupid.

When the CIA was headed by military.

Walter Bedell Smith.

Teddy Roosevelt Jr. on Utah Beach.

His son Quentin Roosevelt II on Omaha Beach.

Teddy made it a month more after the Utah landing.

The only general on D-Day to land by sea.

Age 56.

The oldest man in the invasion.

Had a heart attack one month later and died.

Quentin lived four more years.

Till 1948.

Plane crash in Hong Kong.

He was 29.

Robert Mitchum heading up (assistant) the 29th Infantry Division with his cigar.

Fort Belvoir.

Omaha.

Norman “Dutch” Cota.

Neptune.

Normandy.

It’s not where you think it’s gonna be.

It’s not the easy route.

It’s not the obvious point.

It’s the most difficult length.

It is different from previous modus operandi.

Robert Ryan heading up (assistant) the 82nd Airborne.

James M. Gavin.

But nothing beats the voice of The Duke.

A true American patriot.

Now being cancelled by the communist Left in the United States.

505th Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne.

Fort Bragg.

2nd Ranger Battalion.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

75th Ranger Regiment.

Fort Benning.

Jeffrey Hunter.

With the torpedoes.

Richard Beymer.

Must have missed him.

Red Buttons gets hung up.

Deafened by the bells.

A bit of comedy.

Sal Mineo.

4th Infantry.

Fort Carson.

Paul Anka.

Fabian.

Tommy Sands.

Bernard Montgomery.

Colin Maud with his dog.

Richard Burton is equally magnificent as John Wayne in this film.

Sean Connery is conspicuous.

Irina Demick brings us our only true beauty.

Using breasts as weapons.

As Louise Boitard.

Arletty.

Must have missed her.

Jodl wouldn’t wake up Hitler.

Who had taken a sleeping pill.

Lost time moving panzers.

Attack just after midnight.

Hitting beaches at 06:32.

Curd Jürgens knows the war will be lost.

Because Hitler took a sleeping pill.

Walter Gotell.

Must have missed him.

Heinz Reincke has good reason to be pissed.

Because the assets were in the wrong place.

Only two planes.

To counter 5,000 ships.

Peter van Eyck is annoying as fuck.

Pluskat suddenly sees 5,000 ships.

And it is too late.

Gert Fröbe will not be bringing any more coffee.

It’s too late.

This is not a masterpiece.

But it is essential viewing.

To understand the planning.

And the execution.

To have a great plan.

And things still go wrong.

Nothing will ever work out quite as you have planned.

And sometimes you have to attack during a storm.

-PD

Executive Action [1973)

LBJ was not innocent.

But the story goes far deeper than that.

And it depends on who you ask.

As Oliver Stone told it, Johnson was integral to the plot against Kennedy.

Here, Johnson is largely a footnote.

Here we enter the politics of history.

The politics of film.

The politics of telling a story.

To decipher, we must know Dalton Trumbo.

Relative to Oliver Stone.

What is most remarkable is that there was a film made which not only rivals the quality and conviction of Stone’s JFK, but perhaps exceeds it.

This is that film.

David Miller, its director, barely has a stub of biography to supplement his rather large filmic oeuvre.

Which is intriguing.

Let’s investigate further.

Miller started out as an editor for an RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) film directed by a Halliburton.

That was 1933.

By 1937, he was directing.

Miller seems to have strictly directed short films for the next four years.

His first feature-length film of note was Billy the Kid in 1941.

By the next year he was directing John Wayne in Flying Tigers.

The war years were lean.

A short propaganda film here and there.

Seven years elapsed.

But Miller was back in the game by 1949…directing Bing Crosby in Top o’ the Morning.

That same year, Miller directed the Marx Brothers in their final feature film: Love Happy.

Future highlights for Miller included the noir film Sudden Fear in 1952 starring Joan Crawford and Jack Palance.

He directed Ginger Rogers in 1954’s Twist of Fate (aka Beautiful Stranger).

By 1956, he was directing Lana Turner and Roger Moore in Diane.

Joan Crawford teamed up with Miller again in 1957 for The Story of Esther Costello.

By 1960, Miller was teaming up with screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

They had at their disposal Kirk Douglas.

The film was Lonely Are the Brave.

Miller was making a spy thriller by 1968:

the little-known Hammerhead.

The year I was born, 1976, Miller was making his last film (again with Lana Turner): Bittersweet Love.

His penultimate film, Executive Action, is a masterpiece.

Again teamed with Dalton Trumbo.

There is plenty of bitterness to go around for the conspirators of JFK’s murder.

Which brings us to the current state of American politics.

Who is really in control?

Is it Joe Biden?

I don’t not think that anyone would assume Biden is even controlling his own bowels at this point.

Which is sad.

Because he has only been in office a mere 30-some-odd days.

Is the business world running the U.S. government?

It’s possible, but I don’t think so.

As much as they would like to use Biden as their puppet, I do not think we are completely being ruled by corporations at the moment (though their power is considerable).

What about the Democrat Party?

Is it running America?

Nancy Pelosi seems powerful.

But also inept.

Ineffectual.

Impotent.

She and Biden make the perfect pair.

Slurring and stuttering.

Schumer is just a yutz.

But the Biden/Pelosi combo is one for the ages.

My fellow San Antonian, the late Jacques Barzun, might have something to say here re: decadence.

Decay.

Like rotting teeth.

You can give Biden dental implants.

And Hunter too.

You can give Pelosi dentures.

But Joe and Nancy will continue to be an overwhelming embarrassment.

Which brings up Biden’s “80 million votes”.

And Pelosi’s unpopularity within her own party.

AOC’s star will fade, but for now, Sandy Cortez wields far more political capital than the haggard Pelosi.

And it is not hard to see why.

Cortez is an attractive (albeit moronic), young star of American communism.

She promises everything.

She will (of course) deliver nothing.

But hey: that’s the essence of communism.

Pelosi’s day has come and gone.

And it was a LOOOOOONG day.

Pelosi has overstayed her welcome.

Even in the minds of her fellow socialists.

But this is all just theater.

Because Biden, nor Pelosi, nor AOC are in control.

What about Kamala?

Nope.

I don’t think so.

So we must keep searching.

And here we hit gold.

Either the military, the CIA, or the NSA (which is to say, the military) are now in control of the country.

In the case of the CIA, we must remind some readers that this organization started off with military roots.

The OSS.

And for many years, the CIA overthrew communist governments.

That is, until Barack Obama appointed a communist (John Brennan) to head the Agency.

It is not a matter of debate that Brennan voted for Gus Hall in 1976.

https://www.cnn.com/2016/09/15/politics/john-brennan-cia-communist-vote/index.html

“John Brennan on Thursday recalled being asked a standard question for a top security clearance at his early CIA lie detector test: Have you ever worked with or for a group that was dedicated to overthrowing the US?”

Brennan said, “I froze”.

Which brings us to JFK.

And communism.

And Vietnam.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/wellness/1992/10/06/jfks-addisons-disease/aceb473c-a5dc-4199-9453-d3fcd3b18312/

JFK had Addison’s disease.

And treatment for Addison’s disease can cause mood swings.

Maybe not the best trait for a President of the United States (especially at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis).

Not only this, but JFK and RFK lied about Kennedy’s condition.

Indeed, mood changes characterize Addison’s disease itself (and are not simply a side effect of treatment):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addison%27s_disease

At his autopsy, JFK was found to have virtually no adrenal glands whatsoever.

To say this is an advanced stage of Addison’s would be an understatement.

This would have predisposed JFK to:

-anxiety

-depression

-irritability 

-poor concentration.

Again, not the traits you want in a President.

And not the sort of thing a Presidential candidate and his brother (Attorney General) should have lied about.

But they did.

None of which is to say that Kennedy deserved to die like a dog.

He didn’t.

But we now come into a realm of questioning and philosophy which involves the existential survival of America.

For the first time in my life, I today regarded Lyman L. Lemnitzer as a potentially-reasonable person.

He of Operation Northwoods infamy.

Why?

Because of the care taken in that document with regard to contrived obituaries, etc.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, under Kennedy, did indeed present the option of (plot) terror attacks on the American people.

Some of the attacks (options) would have been real.

That is the Lemnitzer I have always detested.

But some of the attacks (options) would have been simulated.

In other words, these men of war would have taken great care in concocting fake deaths…TO PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

From what?

From Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba.

So I ask you today:  is it possible that this same panel (the JCS) is now in control of the USA?

What about Lloyd Austin?

Are the JCS really reporting to him?

Maybe so.

Maybe not.

And what of the CIA?

Why was Mike Pompeo (West Point) put in charge of the CIA before becoming Secretary of State?

Why did Trump go to CIA headquarters so early in his Presidency?

Was it not reminiscent of his visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican (respectively)?

If one was to really “drain the swamp”, where would this swamp-drainer start?

And if the CIA can infiltrate the Pentagon (the veracity of which, just prior to 9/11, Dr. Pieczenik has attested to), then can the Pentagon not (silently) reclaim the CIA?

What changes did Pompeo make while he was there?

Is it possible that the CIA is currently in control of the U.S. government?

And that the CIA has been gutted by Trump and Pompeo?

Is it possible that the U.S. military is operating out of Langley (in a script-flip of Langley infiltrating the Pentagon)?

Which then brings us to the NSA and CYBERCOM (which are, for the time being, virtually the same thing).

If any agency could run the country, it would be the NSA.

Why?

Because they would be able to undo corruption.

Piece by piece.

They would know which blackmailed leaders to remove (legally…over time…even if by martial law).

And they would know how to LEVERAGE information for command and control purposes.

For instance.

If Mark Milley (CJCS) was being a cunt (not that he ever would be), the NSA could neutralize him with information.

Perhaps Milley has some unsavory secrets he doesn’t want coming out.

The NSA would have that.

Which is to say, Paul Nakasone could literally be running the entire country all by himself at this point.

Perhaps with help from Keith Alexander.

And Jerry Boykin.

No need for kinetic warfare if the #InvisibleCoup / #SecretCoup / #SilentCoup is run with devastating efficiency and efficacy by Fort Meade.

But just in case, SOCOM/USSOCOM are ready to knock on some doors (if needed).

Joe Biden is being allowed to pretend he is President.

That is my theory.

I very much owe my realization to the writing of Martin Geddes.

What we are seeing is the United States being given a free sample of Chinese communism.

The military is running the country.

We can attack Iran.

And Biden will be blamed.

The military can mess up.

And Biden will be blamed.

And Biden will run the country into the ground on his own.

Yet the military will act as training wheels for this bicycle.

This is where SOCOM/USSOCOM comes in.

This is where Fort Bragg reigns supreme.

PSYOPS.

The American populace must be woken up.

It cannot be done all at once.

The American populace must experience first-hand the failure of socialism.

Which is why Donald Trump’s second term features Joe Biden as President.

Which brings us back to QAnon.

We know that Q was more that one writer.

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210117-swiss-text-sleuths-unpick-mystery-of-qanon-origins

But anyone could be framed for writing it.

Even myself.

But I did not write it.

And I very much believe that those now in control of our government DID write it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_B

The CIA pulled off 9/11.

But they were not alone.

There were traitorous elements within our military.

I can only now hope that those elements have left.

But, again:  the NSA/CYBERCOM would have all the goods needed to remove corruption from even the top ranks of the military.

All other unified combatant commands would need to rely on kinetic means.

Which brings up a possible coconspirator in preserving and defending the Constitution:

INSCOM.

As we have said, SOCOM would be a muscle held in reserve.

A further buttress may be SPACECOM.

Indeed, it is possible that STRATCOM is not a part of this “invisible coup”.

STRATCOM’s capabilities may be constrained by those of SPACECOM.

Nevertheless, CYBERCOM (again) can control all other human elements.

It would be a sort of blackmail to save America.

If globalists can have a Great Reset, what’s to say the U.S. military couldn’t manufacture a national reset?

I would bet on the U.S. military before I would bet on the World Economic Forum.

And I also bet that the U.S. military now knows that the WEF have committed an act of war in inflicting COVID-19 upon the United States.

WEF, acting as a sort of nationstate, would fall under the category of terrorist organization (biological terror).

Bill Gates has given aid and comfort to this enemy.

Anthony Fauci has given aid and comfort to this enemy.

And all three have worked in concert with a foreign adversary to wreck the economy and morale of the United States.

That foreign adversary is China.

To win this war, it was necessary for Joe Biden to playact.

Except he doesn’t know he’s playacting.

Nor does Nancy Pelosi.

The U.S. military will act at its own pace.

The number one imperative is the good of the country.

Biden cheated and got caught.

The best path forward was to continue to find and weed out corruption.

The U.S. does not want a world war.

China will be dealt with in due time.

But first, the American house must be cleaned.

It is back to a one-room schoolhouse.

We are in session.

The class is political economy.

Joe Biden is teaching us.

What not to do.

The country is experiencing his leadership.

Right after having experienced the free market policies of a truly competent President:

Donald Trump.

The spell must be broken.

The mass media must be exposed.

They lied about Trump for four years.

They lie about everything.

Now they have what they wanted.

Trump’s great defeat.

And a senile incompetent in power.

But they have no plan to help people.

They merely wanted power for the sake of power.

Now that they have it, they don’t know what to do with it.

There is no tit to suck.

This is a crucible for policy.

Free markets work.

Watch the price of eggs.

Socialism/communism does not work.

And to the extent that it does work, it relies on authoritarianism to FORCE people to sacrifice for the greater good.

That is not what America is about.

America is about freedom.

Our dalliance with communism is about to be short-lived.

The U.S. military will dismantle propaganda.

Each domino will fall.

Andrew Cuomo.

Gavin Newsom.

This is a controlled demolition of a condemned building.

The corruption must come down.

But it must come STRAIGHT down.

So as to not harm the people to an undue extent.

Communism lies.

For the greater good.

Capitalism advertises.

It is a subtle differentiation.

Laissez-faire.

Capitalism will win.

Goods must flow freely.

And you know what else must flow freely?

Ideas, motherfucker!

Dalton Trumbo was a communist propagandist.

A good story teller.

But a liar in some key details.

In reality, those who want depopulation (Bill Gates) are communists.

Bill Gates has hitched his wagon to Chinese communism.

America must go a different course.

Freedom.

Liberty.

You CAN take the vaccine (if you want to).

Listen to Donald Trump.

Therapeutics are better.

But he gave you your damn vaccine.

In record time.

Take at your own risk.

It’s experimental.

Trumbo was one of the Hollywood Ten.

Perhaps soon we will be able to list the Pedowood Ten (as Los Angeles has devolved in depravity).

History forgets some of these former (Hollywood Ten) communists.

But some we remember.

Dmytryk.

Ring Lardner Jr.

And Trumbo.

Ayn Rand was an anticommunist.

Good for her.

Not one of the Ten.

Other significant Hollywood personages blacklisted:

-Lillian Hellman

-Paul Robeson

-Richard Wright

Look them up.  This wasn’t racial.

Wright was literally a member of the American Communist Party.

Further communist elements:

-Leonard Bernstein

-Aaron Copland

-Dashiell Hammett

-Lena Horne

-Langston Hughes

-Burl Ives

-Alan Lomax

-Joseph Losey

-Burgess Meredith

-Arthur Miller

-Zero Mostel

-Dorothy Parker

-Edward G. Robinson

-Pete Seeger

-Artie Shaw

-Orson Welles

And more communist elements:

-Richard Attenborough

-Harry Belafonte

-Luis Buñuel

-Charlie Chaplin

-Jules Dassin

The lesson?

Being a communist when America is at war (Cold War) with a communist nation is not a good idea.

And guess what?

America is again at war with a communist nation (this time it’s China).

Getting out of stupid wars is a good idea.

Afghanistan and Iraq were/are stupid wars.

Trump did his best to remove troops.

There is no longer any urgent need to have troops in Europe as part of NATO.

The Soviet Union no longer exists.

Russia does not present the same threat to the United States as does China.

Which is to also say:  Vietnam was not a stupid war.

It was botched.

It was handled in a daft manner.

The draft gave birth to resentment.

But the threat was real.

And the war had merit.

Whether it retained that merit throughout is a matter of discussion.

Which is to say, JFK was not perfect.

He was made a martyr.

Which tends to overshadow aspects of his makeup which disqualified him for the Presidency (such as Addison’s disease…and lying about having Addison’s disease).

Biden and Pelosi are not focused on the believability of their “victory” and “power”.

By the time they realize what is going in, it will be too late for them.

They are no real threat to the republic.

JFK should not have been gunned down like a dog.

War is hell.

-PD

El Dorado [1966)

Funny thing about Westerns…

Sometimes you seen ’em, but you done FORGET you seen ’em.

And this one is that type of affair.

Except that it’s a masterpiece.

This here film takes multiple viewings to fully appreciate the craftsmanship at work.

Because back in those heady nouvelle vague days, it seems that the Cahiers crowd were known as the Hitchcocko-Hawksians.

I may be borrowing a term from Richard Brody’s book on Godard.

But he may have been borrowing it from elsewheres.

I don’t rightly know.

But El Dorado is certainly the spitting image of another film…by the same auteur.

Yes, Rio Bravo was the first incarnation.

1959.

It’s the one that gets all the praise.

But if my eyes and heart don’t deceive me, Robert Mitchum is a better actor than Dean Martin.

[as much as I love Dino]

And James Caan bests Ricky Nelson as well.

But it’s hard to replace Walter Brennan.

Damn near impossible.

That said, Arthur Hunnicutt is pretty darn fabulous in El Dorado.

But let’s get back to those Hitchcocko-Hawksians.

The first part is probably pretty self-explanatory.

These Cahiers du cinéma film critics revered Alfred Hitchcock.

Above all else.

Hell!

Before Truffaut did his book of interviews with Hitch (1967), Chabrol had written a monograph on the master (1957).

To be more exact, Chabrol cowrote the book with Rohmer.

Might as well say Rivette (“Rivette!”) just to round out les cinq.

Like the Mighty Handful (Balakirev, Cui, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Borodin), and one short of les six (Auric, Durey, Honegger, Milhaud, Poulenc, and Tailleferre), the Cahiers crew were the Hitchcocko-Hawksians.

But what of that second seme?

Indeed, it was Howard Hawks.

The director of our film.

And an auteur which Jean-Luc Godard has gone on about at length…in a profusion of praise.

But why are we even talking about these Westerns?

What do El Dorado and Rio Bravo have in common besides diagesis and director?

Ah yes:  John Wayne!

In El Dorado, our villain is Ed Asner.

Quite rich when considering that he was one of the very few to be a true hero in America after 9/11.

That’s right.

Ed Asner was on the front lines of getting the truth.

And we never got the truth.

Not from any official source.

But that’s ok.

Because we have gathered the general gist of the situation.

And so Ed Asner’s most important performance was what he did in real life.

To try and honor those 3000 souls who perished and were draped in a lie.

But we’re in Texas.

And Texas is a lonesome land.

Inhospitable.

And we aim here to mainly talk about the examples of the silver screen.

In Technicolor.

“details…deliberately left out” says Wikipedia…

Ah yes…something David Ray Griffin spotted with his razor-sharp mind.

“Omissions and distortions”, he called it.

That is the beauty of film.

It gets deep.

It burrows.

And it fuses to what we have experienced as visceral verities.

Charlene Holt was actually from Texas.

And she is every bit the female lead here.

Charming.  Strong.  Sexy.

I won’t go comparing her to Angie Dickinson, but let’s just say that Ms. Holt fit the bill.

To a T.

T for Texas.

And Ms. Holt passed on (God rest her soul) in Tennessee.

We get horses and streams.

Rifles and pistols.

And a lot of earthy talk.

As you can tell.

Gets under your skin.

Your tongue.

Burrows.

Say, was you ever bit by a dead bee?

[Oops, wrong funnyman.  And Hemingway.]

Pound born in Idaho.  And Papa H died there.

Because the pain was too much.

Gut shot.

You can’t turn your back in these parts.

Gotta waddle out backwards.

On yer horse.

In high heels.

And keep your peripheral sharp.

Cardsharp, not shark.

Tiburon country.

Anyone missing Angie Dickinson likely ogled Michele Carey for the better part of El Dorado.

Though the appearances were brief.

John Wayne turns the other cheek.

Smears blood on the cowhide.

Get outta here.

Tough guy gets back on his horse.

Always guns in the river.

But you gotta retrieve it.

Dr. Fix (Paul Fix) isn’t up to the procedure.

Doesn’t wanna bungle a good man.

Tells him take care uh that whens you get tuh proper chirurgien.

Christopher George looks spitting Willem Dafoe.

Ping!

But the real story is Diamond Joe.

Or so.

It seems under the bridge.

Natchez.  Matches.

Jarmusch maybe…

Always.

Revenge.

Gotta git your own justice.

Around these skillet lickers.

Like the freaks from Octopussy, knife to a gunfight.

Had to saw off a holstered piece at the Swede.

Following me?

If the top is a high hat, Mississippi’s is low.

I think Tom Petty adopted one.

Mine never fit quite right.

From crown to gun butt…soft wobble with every bump.

But enough phrenology.

Only love can break your heart.  Neil Young said that.

And I know all too well.

Stuck behind an 18-wheeler from Dallas.

And the rains set in.

And Górecki just makes you cry even more.

Feels like an addiction.

And sometimes you substitute one addiction for another.

Because you got an empty place there in your ribcage.

Friendship rides in least expected.

Crusty.

Professional killer don’t have no friends.

A liability.

Can’t get too connected.

Go soft./

Stayed in Mississippi a day too long.  Bob Dylan said that.

And I think maybe he meant Robert Johnson.

When the poison of whisky ain’t enough.  I said that.

Not enough holes in the world get a rise outta me at Royal Albert.

But I’m not too worried about it.

Just modulating grammar.

Because El Dorado is filled with sine qua non dialogue.

Seeming hapex legomenon with every breath.

Latin/Greek shift.

Cipher.

A lot of soap.

Running joke.

The others’ll come to me.

Maybe.

High low, do-si-do.

My uncle died with a stack of VHS Westerns on his TV set.

That smoking’ll kill you.

Two uncles.

But only one owned a square dance barn.

So that no matter how Cahiers I get, I’ll always be from Texas.

City boy.

Country heart.

Not even aware how much of a rube I really am.

It’s a concoction you gotta pinch the nose to force down.

A medicine resembling asphalt.

Alcohol, 4 days

No punctuation.

I’m just lucky to never have done more’n cowboy tobacco.

But Texas is lonesome.

Unless you’re riding with John Bell Hood.

In which case you’re shitting yourself with fear.

Itch on the back of your neck.

But learn to play a good bugle.

Close quarters combat.

Urban warfare.

In the Wild West.

Two walk forward, two reverse.

To slap a RICO charge on a greasy bastard.

Like the goddamned Great Gate of Kiev.

And back to the five.

A gamelan of adobe marksmanship.

Distraction.

Diversion.

Deputy was just the courage.  Pin on “I do”.

We think Pecos.

Information travels.

And to have a leg up.

[no pun]

Old wounds and creaky bones.

Been knocked down too many times.

Fallen off my horse.

[shift]

We don’t negotiate with terrorists.

But do we terrorize negotiators?

Turns out the whole thing was about water.

When it’s dry.

And you gotta wake up.

And you didn’t just win the Super Bowl.

Why you can’t take a giant leap in chess.

Giant steps.

Because your plan sucks.

Just showing up is pretty damned brave.

Every day.

Fight.

[And I didn’t even get to Edith Head and Nelson Riddle]

-PD

True Grit [1969)

To get through life, you need grit.

Toughness.

I know of no tougher people than my parents.

And they have been an infinite inspiration to me.

So it is a pleasure to review what is one of my dad’s favorite films.

He always told me to watch this, but I guess I had some subliminal aversion to Westerns.

Well, dear friends, this here is a masterpiece.

I haven’t written much about Westerns (aside from the three Clint Eastwood spaghetti Westerns I reviewed long ago).

I know the genre is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Jean-Luc Godard commented once that his soulmate Anne-Marie Miéville really couldn’t stand this genre, whereas Monsieur Godard has been open about his admiration for John Ford and other directors of the American Western.

But here we have a film by Henry Hathaway.

Sure, John Wayne is in the movie (big league!), but it was Hathaway behind the camera ostensibly calling the shots.

You might know Hathaway from the film noir Call Northside 777.

Or perhaps The Desert Fox:  The Story of Rommel (starring the inimitable James Mason).

But he also directed Rawhide and The Sons of Katie Elder (another flick starring The Duke).

But let’s bring out the big gun.

John Wayne was born Marion (!) Robert Morrison in Winterset, Iowa.

That’s right.  Not Texas.  Not Oklahoma.

Iowa.

So how did John Wayne become such a badass?

Much of it might be attributable to his attention to detail.

And just what (or who) was he paying attention to?

Wyatt Earp.

That’s right.

Deputy sheriff of Tombstone, Arizona.

But let’s get on to this fantastic film, shall we?

The real surprise is Kim Darby.

Sure, Glen Campbell is great here, but Darby is sensational!

And though this might be thought of as Kim Darby’s only significant film role of her career, it is timeless.

She knocked it out of the park as Mattie Ross.

All our actors are gritty, but the real toss-up is between Kim Darby (who was 22 at the time) and John Wayne (who was 62).

Toughness is the theme of the movie.

He or she who is toughest will overcome.

Sure, some obstacles are insurmountable.

But GRIT will get you through some harrowing situations.

It’s almost funny when a film (like this one) includes minor roles for the likes of Dennis Hopper and Robert Duvall.  Duvall’s role is a bit more substantial, but the main focus is on the troika of Campbell, Darby, and Wayne (particularly the latter two).

Fans of the recent film Sicario will notice precursors to “rough justice” present all throughout True Grit.

But director Hathaway manages to make a G-rated film.

For that and other reasons, I am recommending this as a family film (though it may be unsuitable for particularly young ones).

The narrative device which keeps the film “all ages” is that Mattie is supposed to be 14 years old (though, as stated, Kim Darby [Mattie] was actually 22).

The action of our film centers around Fort Smith, Arkansas (at first) and later in the “Indian Territory” around McAlester, Oklahoma.

The film features prominently a Colt Model 1848 Percussion Army Revolver a.k.a. Colt Dragoon Revolver (.44 caliber).

Firearms aside, John Wayne is magnificent in the denouement when he takes on four armed horsemen.

That said, a Sharps rifle comes in particular handy for Wayne in a near-death imbroglio.

Glen Campbell’s greatest moment is just getting on the horse and setting the beast in motion.

It is this scene in which Campbell proves himself to be just as gritty as Darby and Wayne.

But the film is not over yet.

And we see John Wayne take action:  as a leader!

Doing what needs to be done!

But the scene which brought tears to my eyes was when John Wayne bet on the toughness of Kim Darby.

And that is the message.

What great encouragement it is when people have faith in us!

When they say, “I know you can do it!”

We may not believe it ourselves, but their faith lifts us up.

We think, “Maybe they know something I don’t.”

When we’re at our lowest point.

Those who stand beside us with compassion are displaying that priceless characteristic of true grit.

The very end of the film is quite touching as well.

We see an actor 40 years younger than her leading man offer a hand of friendship with an act of love.

It’s not even romantic.

It’s just classy.

Humane.

In truth, very poetic.

I wholeheartedly recommend this film for all doubters of John Wayne and the Western genre in general.

Yee-Haw!

-PD

The Host [2013)

Science fiction is often a metaphor…and this movie is about the national security state (whether it knows it or not).  It would be easy to fault this film for its trite trappings, but if one has reason to give the film a chance…  My reason was Saoirse Ronan.

I remember being a big fan of Thora Birch after seeing Ghost World.  [I’m still a big fan.]  The lengths to which film fans go to see their favorite players is sometimes remarkable.  My admiration went so far as to watch Dungeons & Dragons (2000).  Boy, I wish I could get those 107 minutes back!

I can’t echo the same sentiment about The Host.  This is truly a fine film.  Granted, it is a pale imitation of Hanna (2011), but I believe that Hanna will stand as one of the best films of all time.

What we do have is a dystopian “failure to communicate.”  This is essentially the problem with the national security state.  No reasonable person can seriously believe that the men and women of the CIA, NSA, and other such agencies are truly sitting around frying up babies on spits.  The problem is that the technology has far outstripped the human skills of these agencies.  For every action which is automated–every process given over to a computer…these agencies lose the war they think they are winning.

When agencies such as MI6 and Mossad no longer have popular support, their days are numbered.  The American intelligence community has failed to recognize that the war is not against “terrorists,” but rather for Americans.  “Hearts and minds” went the old phrase…  The world’s most powerful intelligence agencies are losing the human relations race almost as much as they are losing the information race.

Every once in a while there is a crack in this monolithic façade.  Not so long ago, Zbigniew Brzezinski (perhaps inadvertently) blurted out the real score of both the information and interpersonal communications races during a speech in Canada (Toronto, I believe).  It may have been a Council on Foreign Relations function, but really:  who cares?  The sentiment was echoed on the floor of Congress some years back by Hillary Clinton.  Whether explicit or not, these cracks indicate the panic of highly intelligent and heavily-invested players on the world stage.

Technology brings with it a certain uncertainty:  an undefinable amount of risk.  The same can be said of democracy.  It is no wonder that certain American Founding Fathers (Alexander Hamilton, for instance) felt ill at ease about the prospect of “government by the people.”  But this fear only shows weakness.  When power is fearful, power shows its ass.  Obverse and reverse.  We are used to seeing the obverse, but we must remember there is a man behind that wizard curtain.

Diane Kruger impressed me with her articulate acting in the National Treasure movies.  Here, she represents the sheen of the national security state.  She is like Shannon Bream on FOX News:  a neocon trophy anchor.  In truth, her character is staged in almost an identical way as that of Cate Blanchett in Hanna.  The accoutrements of power in The Host also have a ubiquitous and literal sheen in the form of mirrored-paint (chrome).  It is not far from the cheese factor of Sphere (1998).

Yet, The Host truly does have something to offer…and that is primarily due to the acting prowess of Ronan.  The major addition is the superb support of William Hurt.  In his character “Jeb” we see the dreamer mentality of American ingenuity which stretches back at least to Benjamin Franklin.  We also see in Hurt’s depiction the presence of John Wayne and other noble examples of simple morality from the American western genre of film.  What is really at issue is consequentialist morality vs. deontological morality.  Consequentialists (such as the rational aliens of our film) would argue that their ends justify their means.  Deontological circumspection (as in the case of Hurt’s character) holds that certain acts are repulsive in and of themselves (ontology) and therefore to be considered in such light.

Hurt’s character goes against the grain (Huysmans, anyone?) by refusing to kill the alien which has occupied the body of his niece.  His hunch turns out to be right:  his niece is still alive somewhere deep down inside there.  In Hurt’s character and his milieu we see the “prepper” mentality which has remained strong in America, but most of all we see the imagination to think conceptually.  Uncle Jeb is the only one to give credence to the thought which those around him spurn.  It is possible.

Much has been made about the American intelligence community’s “failure of imagination” regarding 9/11 all those many years ago, but I believe that’s rubbish.  However, the only way the U.S. will ever heal and move forward in an evolutionary way is for those “in the know” to come forward in numbers and ways heretofore unseen.  Likewise, those upset with even the most senior of the military-industrialists must be prepared to embrace the unique wisdom they have.  It is hard to talk about such things in precise terms owing to the nature of the dispute, but ultimately the powerful and the powerless need each other.

-PD